Johannes Ebert has served as secretary general of the Goethe Institute since March, 2011. He first started with the Goethe Institute in 1991 after completing his studies of political science and Islamic studies. He's been called a "pragmatic visionary", and on Talking Germany, he tells us about his plans for keeping interest in the German language alive and growing worldwide.
Johannes Ebert was born in Ulm in 1963. His parents ran a chain of three drug stores. He grew up the eldest of three children in Vöhringen/Iller south of Ulm and passed his school-leaving exams in Weissenhorn in 1982.
Johannes Ebert went on to study political science and Islamic studies in Freiburg and Damascus and did his alternative service at the Goethe Institute. He underwent practical training at a newspaper in Heilbronn, but in 1991, he returned to the Goethe Institute with postings in Abidjan, Riga and Kiev, among others. Starting in 2002, Ebert served as regional director, first in Cairo, then in Moscow. He took over as secretary general on March 1st, 2012, also functioning as spokesman for the board of directors. But the daily routine of conferences and meetings often leaves too little time for work on substantive issues and overall strategy. Johannes Ebert has an American wife and three children.